Therapist Heal Thyself!

In my thirty years in the field, I do not believe I have ever met a therapist who does not have some form of this wound – who has not sought out this profession from at least an unconscious desire to discover and work through the pain of the sad truth that s/he grew up in a family where there was no safe person go to at many of the most painful and crucial times when a kind and supportive connection was needed. Moreover, I believe a high percentage of us grew up in families where we were parentified in a tragic role reversal and required to give this kind of support to a parent without being able to expect any or much of it in return. If we have unworked through pain and defensive structure from an insecure attachment experience, we owe it to our much as we owe it to ourselves. to do this kind of work so that we can learn how to provide them with this kind of help. I believe this is true also for those whose childhood experience has taught them to be there in a reasonably passive empathic way for clients. As helpful as this may be, it is rarely enough to more actively help them identify and work through in the moment of active relating all the processes of self-hate, toxic shame and self-abandonment that keep the lion’s share of their pain and vulnerability hidden and locked away from significant others. So I say with great gratitude to my therapist and with empathy for the painfully isolated human being I was for thirty-five years: “Therapist Heal Thyself!” A Final Note. It is only when the client, through our provision and modeling, finds this deeper kind of intimacy reliably with someone else, that therapy may successfully begin to enter the termination phase.

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